DEENVIEW PROJECT 2018
Tunde Toth (MA SPACE, Limerick IT – LSAD)
Deenview Project is a participatory, collaborative, process-led art project in the context of Deenview Centre: a day support service for adults with intellectual disabilities in Castlecomer, Co. Kilkenny, Ireland.
Artist Tunde Toth has been working with members of the Deenview community – including clients and staff – since 2015 on a number of art projects that were pedagogic in nature. This phase of the project is a departure from the educational framework; an attempt to establish a more equal partnership, a collaboration, an inclusive and empowering process for all involved.
Deenview Project is part of Tunde′s research and studies for her MA course in Limerick School of Art and Design (MA SPACE: Visual Arts and Design in Social Practice and the Creative Environment).
The projects overarching theme is INCLUSION / EXCLUSION in the context of adults with intellectual disabilities. Closely connected are issues and questions regarding disability rights, particularly the RIGHT TO ACCESS INFORMATION.
The work focuses on and challenges various forms of COMMUNICATION and LANGUAGE – while investigating the difficulties, boundaries and lack of communication. People with disabilities are restricted in their access to many aspects of the ′healthy′ or ′normal′ society, while this society ′provides′ them with communication tools and aids that are aimed to support social inclusion. However, these designed and mass-produced tools are often limiting and don′t offer options for individual expressions or personalized use. Limits and problems with communication hinder the development of sense of identity, the sense of belonging and the inclusion in local or wider communities. Functional and successful communication is integral to the development of personal connections and relationships, it is a necessity for forming healthy, inclusive communities.
Through a slow, inclusive process, participants and collaborators explore and investigate VISUAL communication aids and the use of Lámh, the manual sign system derived from Irish Sign Language. The project is a process of search for forms, visual material and tools to understand and express IDENTITY, to establish or strengthen a sense of identity through communication.
The project is inter-organizational: a collaboration between project partners, involving them as participants in a process-led work that manifests in conversation, dialogue, discussion and collaborative making processes.
Discussions and planning sessions took place with the project partners, where their roles, involvement and ways of participation have been considered and agreed.
Deenview Community participants: ′service users′, clients – adults with intellectual disabilities, learning difficulties, dementia; staff at Deenview Centre; families
FORMS of PARTICIPATION: COLLABORATIVE + PROCESS LED Project
The artist and collaborators understand participation as active engagement and involvement in conversations, discussions, collaborative making, shared learning/teaching processes, gallery visits, documentation, event and publication. Participants may collaborate and contribute to some or all processes of the project, including development, documentation, reflection or outcomes.
WORKING PROCESSES, METHODOLOGY
This project considers CONVERSATION and DIALOGUE as process and work. Conversations are recorded and documented.
The process involves explorations of LANGUAGE and COMMUNICATION and various forms of it; including exploring the use of Lámh – manual sign system bothas a visual material and a language.
COLLABORATIVE MAKING sessions took place from March to July 2018 developing ideas for and making of visual communication aids that are made, personalized, used by the participants / their community – taking ownership of their own tools. Drawing and painting was also used as a medium for reflecting, remembering, referencing: communicating everyday experiences and events, previous sessions and exhibition visits.
The Artist participated in a LÁMH MODULE ONE COURSE in July – supported by Lámh Development Office. Learning and using Lámh in the Deenview community is a valuable opportunity to research and experience communication forms and aids in everyday situations and settings.
VISITS to art spaces and specialized exhibition tours took place in IMMA and Visual Carlow during the Summer of 2018 – bringing a non-art space process into a professional gallery environment.
DOCUMENTATION and REFLECTION on the work is approached collaboratively, actively involving participants in recordings, visual or written documentations, photography and film.
ETHICAL Considerations: in relation to the process, presentation and dissemination of film, sound recordings and the collection of personal material consent has been sought from participants (or their families) and an agreement has been drawn up with the collaborators to protect personal interests and privacy.
The concept of consent for participation and documentation and the content of the consent form is communicated and discussed at sessions with all participants both in recorded group sessions and individually. The form is written in a clear and accessible language and includes visual material to support the understanding of options. It is discussed and explained in detail through a slow process and will be mentioned / revisited regularly throughout the process, seeking reassurance of consent and offering options of ′opting out′.
The Accessible Consent Form is the first document of this project that is, in the same time, also a new and valuable communication aid. It aims to communicate the concept of consent, the right to choose and select – a tool and a process developed together with participants from Deenview community. It is a living, evolving document that is in regular use and revisited continuously. The content of the form is recalled and discussed with participants at various sessions and options and choices remain open for everyone.
Deenview Project is a slow, long term project with future plans for the continued development of the Archive, an exhibition/public event (end of 2018) and a project publication (2019).